The success of the Google Pixel 3 and OnePlus 6T is bad news for Samsung

The success of the Google Pixel 3 and OnePlus 6T is bad news for Samsung
Both OnePlus and Google are reportedly hard at work on next-gen flagship phones scheduled to be released sometime this summer and fall respectively, but before that happens, it's probably important for the two companies to take a moment and evaluate just how big of an impact their current hero devices have made on the crucial US market.

Apple, Samsung, LG, and Motorola were ranked by Counterpoint Research a couple of months ago as the top four smartphone vendors stateside during the final quarter of 2018, which means Google and OnePlus had to settle for smaller than 6 percent shares of shipments in that period. While that may sound low, it's definitely worth pointing out that the product "portfolios" of these two brands are not exactly extensive.


In fact, the OnePlus 6T was the company's first-ever handset sold through a US carrier, while the Pixel 3 and 3 XL continued Google's tradition of Verizon-exclusive devices. That obviously limited the exposure and mainstream appeal of these bad boys compared to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and LG V40 ThinQ, which made their achievements that much more impressive.

After hearing from Strategy Analytics that the Google Pixel is the nation's fastest-growing smartphone brand and from the IDC that OnePlus finished Q4 2018 as a top 5 smartphone company in the US in the high-end segment, it's time to turn our attention to Counterpoint Research today for a number of very interesting additional stats.

Google and OnePlus are hurting Samsung, not Apple


It's pretty obvious that these two companies are just the latest to paint a target on Apple's back, aiming primarily to convert iPhone users into Android enthusiasts. But while Google's huge marketing budget and the aggressive pricing strategy of the OnePlus 6T certainly yielded some positive results on the whole, Apple's user base didn't exactly suffer any major blows. After all, the Cupertino-based tech giant continued to comfortably dominate the US market between October and December 2018, with a massive 47 percent share of total shipments.


If Apple's numbers were not impacted, it's definitely not surprising to hear Samsung lost a fair chunk of users in this equation. Believe it or not, a whopping 51 percent of Pixel 3 buyers switched from a Galaxy device, including 31 percent that came from the Galaxy S7 alone. Meanwhile, "only" 37 percent of people who purchased the OnePlus 6T in the US in Q4 2018 previously owned a Samsung, compared to 16 percent that switched from an iPhone, 15 percent for LG, and 32 percent for "other" brands.

While the Galaxy S7 was ranked among the most often upgraded models to a OnePlus 6T as well, the latest "flagship killer" also attracted a large number of Galaxy J2 Prime, iPhone 6, and iPhone 7 users, which is a testament of the success of the company's focus on affordability.

The US market is open to change


You probably wouldn't have guessed that by looking at Apple and Samsung's shares over the past few years, but US consumers can be persuaded to buy phones from other companies as long as the price is right or the advertising is aggressive enough. People are showing an increased "appetite for more diversity", at least as far as "premium" handsets are concerned, a fact proven by OnePlus and Google's strong carrier sales during Q4 2018.


Specifically, it seems the Google Pixel lineup accounted for 7.3 percent of Verizon's total sales in that three-month period, while the OnePlus 6T single-handedly racked up 2.4 percent of T-Mobile's numbers. Mind you, those obviously include Verizon and T-Mobile sales of iPhones, high-end Galaxy devices, as well as many other low to high-end products.

All in all, the somewhat surprising popularity of the OnePlus 6T and Pixel 3 should encourage the two companies to ramp up their US ambitions going forward, also creating a favorable context for other brands to provide stiffer than ever competition for Apple and Samsung. It sounds like interesting times might be ahead for one of the world's largest smartphone markets.

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21 Comments

1. Phonehex

Posts: 767; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

S10 would have changed the percentage a bit toward the positive side. It's quite a smash hit worldwide.

2. midan

Posts: 3010; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Sorry Google and OnePlus, we don't want Android, we buy and keep iPhone because of iOS.

10. dumpster666

Posts: 92; Member since: Mar 07, 2019

thank you for you valuable input...we all, including Google and op, needed that.

17. danny_a2005

Posts: 365; Member since: Oct 06, 2011

we? that sounds like a lot, although, samsung (android) is the top 1 cellphone vendor

3. riteshrkm

Posts: 158; Member since: Apr 15, 2015

I d'nt know which market u r talking about but atlst Pixel is not hurting anyone's Market in Asia.

9. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1578; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

It helps to read the article.

4. tiz_meh

Posts: 78; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

bad news for Apple

6. toukale

Posts: 646; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

How did you managed that conclusion? The number of switchers between both OS’s are basically a wash on each sides. Some moves to Android and some moves to iOS.

8. Georgio

Posts: 259; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

No, it's bad news for Samsung actually

5. toukale

Posts: 646; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

Samsung was always going to get hurt more than any other OEM’s. Those who thought Apple would get hurt more lacked understanding of how market movements in similar scenarios worked. They were just bias to be frank.

7. umaru-chan

Posts: 371; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

Oh Noooo. Samsung, you are going to disappoint a lot of s-fans.

18. oldskool50 unregistered

Why? Apple has never been in first place with phone sales. Does that mean I shouldn't by one? You don't buy phones based on what place an OEM is in, do you?

11. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Like what i always said that chinese phones are eating samsung market share.

12. LawnBoy

Posts: 198; Member since: Feb 23, 2019

You mean Apple. S10 series on pace for record sales.

13. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Record sales against poor s9 and note 9 sales. Then why do Samsung mobile division still suffers to have profit. Let’s us just wait to their quarterly earnings call.

14. cmdacos

Posts: 4264; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

With the amount of units sold for pixels historically the loss will be barely noticeable to anyone.

15. Guseinguliev

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 04, 2019

Samsung has a problem on its head, they are pushing money from marketers to listen to users on the contrary. Not all suckers to buy a device worth $ 1000 for ads that have an unlock problem.

16. JohnR

Posts: 158; Member since: Sep 08, 2017

I don't understand a word you just said lmao...

19. oldskool50 unregistered

Writers like the fanboys always lie and claim Android sales don't effect Apple. They do! if Apple sells go down, then what other phone are those buyers gonna get? yes that's right, an Android phone. Obviously the effect of sales, is greater on a platform that is shared with others vs Apple who is all alone. But to claim Apple isn't effected is just a lie flat out. Any fluctuations in sales of ANY Android OEM also effect Apple. No matter how small you think it is. Samsung likely won't be in 1st place much longer. But many OEM's like Apple, will never be in a market first place where it actually matters.

20. midan

Posts: 3010; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

”if Apple sells go down, then what other phone are those buyers gonna get? yes that's right, an Android phone.” They aren’t getting other phones? You know they are keeping their current model just longer. Sure few always switch but overally they just stay in iOS ecosystem and upgrade when it’s time. Current trend is that people with any os use their devices longer than before and that’s why sales for the whole market is down. ”Samsung likely won't be in 1st place much longer. But many OEM's like Apple, will never be in a market first place where it actually matters.” Apple been number one like 10 years where it matters and every year they are stronger.

21. tokuzumi

Posts: 1929; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Platform converts are going to be minimal, especially if they have been using a particular OS for a number of years. I have been an Android guy since 2009, and when work offered me an iPhone, I decided I'd try iOS. It was hard for me to use. And it seems the same way with iOS people who start using Android. But onto the matter at hand. Samsung makes great devices, and while I'm happy with my S9, but with OnePlus making phones with almost the same specs and materials for $300 less, it's hard to find the value Samsung is providing. I just wish OnePlus would make a successor to the X. I like the design of the OnePlus, but don't want a phablet.

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